Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM American National Biography Online. © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in American National Biography Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Franklin, Williamlocked

(1731–16 November 1813)
  • Willard Sterne Randall


Franklin, William (1731–16 November 1813), Loyalist leader and last royal governor of New Jersey, was the son of Benjamin Franklin, a printer and later statesman and diplomat, who addressed his autobiography to “My Dear Son.” Born out of wedlock in Philadelphia, William always referred to Deborah Read, Benjamin’s common-law wife, as his mother, but the real identity of his mother is unknown. A close friend of Benjamin’s said William was born of a disagreeable woman “not of good circumstances” who did not want her maternity known. As a boy William liked to read books from his father’s and uncle’s bookstores and had his own race horse, a rarity for the son of a tradesman. Years later, Benjamin wrote about childrearing to a young mother, “Pray let him have everything he likes: I think it of great consequence, while the features of the countenance are forming.” He was tutored by mathematician ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription